Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt has taken a swipe at the government for dissolving the Governing Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) following the recent crisis on the campus involving the authorities and students.
The students embarked on a protest to register their displeasure with certain decisions taken by the University authorities at the behest of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso.
The demonstration turned violent as the protesters destroyed private and public properties on campus.
Following the incident, the government sent a delegation with the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, as leader to meet with the authorities and stakeholders to resolve the conflict.
The Governing Council of the school was subsequently dissolved and the government set up a 7-member interim Council with oversight responsibilities over the University.
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But government’s decision received a strong backlash with some groups like University Association of Ghana (UTAG), Teachers & Educational Workers Union of Ghana (TEWU) and Occupy Ghana as well as a section of the public, questioning the basis for the interim Council, and further saying the dissolution of the main Council was illegal.
Kwesi Pratt, speaking on Peace FM‘s “Kokrokoo“, also questioned the legality of the dissolution of the main Council and the constitution of the interim Council to oversee the affairs of the University, saying the government cannot usurp any of the powers vested by law in the appointing authorities.
“The emergency powers conferred on the President will never allow him to violate the constitution. Because even emergency powers, it is regulated by law…but we have lawyers today who are saying, under the circumstances, the President can invoke his emergency powers, dismiss Vice Chancellor, set aside the University Council and do what he likes…Is what happened at KNUST a national emergency warranting the invocation of the emergency powers of the President?” he quizzed.
He further wondered how the government would dissolve the Council by removing some members but maintain four members it appointed before the incident at the University, on the interim Council.
Mr. Pratt also criticized the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso and the University Council saying the students don’t deserve to be treated as children and for that matter make certain strict rules for them.
He believed that the students’ aggression stemmed from the fact that the authorities were running the University as a Senior High School.
He sought to understand how the authorities would decide to mix the male halls with females and send males to female halls without any confrontation from the students.
To him, the decisions of the authorities which called for demonstration by the students do not make “sense“.
“You want to increase the population of females. At the female residence, you’re now admitting men there and transferring to the male residence. I can’t simply understand this…In the same breath, we want to increase the population of women on the campuses, but the existing facilities of women we’re giving it to the men or mixing it with men”, he told host Kwami Sefa Kayi.
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